Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare for an interview, something goes wrong. You might have woken up with a headache or are going through a pressing personal matter. There are very few things that feel worse than feeling like you’re not connecting with the interviewer. However, this does not have to lead to a missed opportunity. When you act in time, it may work to your advantage. 

Signs Things Are Going Badly in the Interview 

Even if you feel you’re doing well, you may be engaged with an interviewer who sticks to a script and doesn’t ask any follow-up questions. Either they have already made up their mind and are going through the motions, or the company is using specific questions to weed out candidates. Other signs include loss of eye contact, distracted interviewer, or an interviewer who offers you career advice. In these cases, it’s highly likely they’re no longer interested. 

It may not be the interviewer who’s distracted or uninterested, but rather you who cannot stay focused on the interview or are giving poor answers. In other words, a poor interview can be triggered from either side of the table. What you do about it will depend on whether it’s you or the interviewer. 

What Can You Do to Turn the Interview Around?  

If you’re the one who can’t stay focused, it’s time to take a deep breath and remember you’ve already made a good impression. They already have asked to meet you, so there must be something that intrigues them. If you are nervous, started talking too fast, or your mind went blank, take a deep breath and start over. Your interviewer would rather know you want to take a second shot at answering a question rather than believe you didn’t recognize your answer made little sense or didn’t address the question. 

Don’t be afraid to ask a question to give yourself a moment and show your interest in knowing more about the position or the company. Remember to walk into an interview with questions you already want to know. If you don’t have questions about the company, it communicates to the interviewer you’re not interested. 

Remember, stay upbeat and smile during the interviewer. Even if the other person’s body language screams that they want to be somewhere else, you need to stay positive. You really cannot read minds, and if you are misinterpreting their nonverbal behavior, you may have missed a unique opportunity. If you feel like you’re fumbling, don’t be afraid to ask for a bathroom break. Splash some cold water on your face, give yourself a pep talk and do a few jumping jacks to get the blood moving. You’ll get back into the interview feeling refreshed and with a more positive attitude. 

Another option is to ask frankly if the interviewer has questions or concerns about your ability to fill the position and request a few minutes to address those concerns. Sometimes, being direct can get issues on the table and demonstrate to the interviewer your ability to be straightforward, not only during the interview but also in your communication after you’re hired. 

What Can You Do After a Bad Interview? 

Take some time to think about the experience but not dwell on it. This is an excellent time to take advantage of writing a thank you note to the employer for their time. Take a few sentences to remind them of your strengths and add any important information you may have forgotten to communicate. 

Do not be afraid to ask for a second interview. Either in your thank-you note or through a phone call, you can communicate you were nervous and felt like you messed up in the first one. Your honesty and willingness to call about a second interview will demonstrate how much you truly want the position and how much effort you’re willing to put in to get one.  

Are You Ready to Start Looking for a New Job? 

Employers are humans, too, and they understand you may have had a bad day. Your willingness to not give up is a character trait most employers are looking for. Very briefly explain what went wrong, emphasize your interest in the company and suggest they may wish to contact your references. Strong references can demonstrate your performance was not typical and help get you that second interview. 

Let Stellar Help with Your Job Search 

At Stellar, our professional recruiters are ready and willing to help you in your job search and interview process. Contact us today so we can get started working together to build your future. 


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